On the bitter sweetness of reunions

Reunions. They’re bittersweet, right? On the one hand it’s nice to see everyone again and to see what they’re all up to, but on the other hand, they make you incredibly self-conscious. Not self-conscious in a good way. It’s just, these people know you from waaaay back. They know only a version of you that is long gone, which is confronting.

That version of me had a dream. A dream to become a well-known singer-songwriter, who could make her living only by making music. I did everything in my power to reach that goal for 10 years. When I met these people I was somewhere in the middle of it, and so they think I am still that person, but I am not. I gave up on that dream in the summer of 2018 and discovered, also then, how much being a singer-songwriter was part of my identity, who I felt like I was. Letting go of that part of me left me with a gaping hole and a big question mark inside of it.

Giving up on that dream still feels like the right choice though. In the end, the music industry wasn’t my place at all. I never knew if someone really liked my music or if they just saw a business opportunity. And I understand, it could be both, but I had huge trouble with the commercial side of it all. Being so skeptical of all the people in the industry left me in a place where I thought I needed to do everything on my own (which wasn’t helping me get closer to my dream). I also felt like I should be able to make the kind of music I wanted to make. I didn’t want to change my music just so that it would appeal to a larger audience. Being the purist that I was (+ also being an introvert), I wasn’t really getting anywhere near my goal. Don’t get me wrong, I got to do some awesome things! But, after 10 years I decided to call it quits, however much I loved to write songs, the industry side wasn’t for me. I figured at 27 there were other things waiting for me in life and couldn’t wait to discover them.

That discovery period was harder than I thought. For the longest time, I felt like a bee, stopping and landing briefly on a certain flower, and then continuing her journey in search of the next one. Nothing ever really stuck. I could not replicate that intense passion I had felt for my music for anything else. And actually, I still can’t. But I have somewhat made peace with it, and look back on an awesome, passionate adventure that I wouldn’t want to have missed for anything.

Back to the reunion. Everyone’s asking me about my musical career, and I keep having to tell them I quit. Most think I shouldn’t have. Although I have made my peace with my decision, at an event like that it just feel like the past version of me is looking me right in the eye. I can’t help but compare her to the version of me I am now. She who went for her dreams wholeheartedly vs. me who’s struggling to keep motivated and to not give up. That hole is still there, not gaping anymore, but, present enough to let my mind slip in for a while. It is not regret or anger that I feel, but it’s a sadness or longing for that fierce dedication I had for something once.

On a good note, talking to everyone at the reunion made me realize everyone’s life is a journey with ups and downs. No one gets to live life unscathed. So, I try to be thankful for the beautiful flowers that I landed on in the past. Only I know when it is time to continue my life’s journey and move on. I trust my own decisions and I treasure the moments from my past. But I also try and leave them right there. Because who I am now is the only version of me I’m meant to be.


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